A Federal High Court, Lagos on Monday turned down request to strike out the money laundering charges instituted against the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, and his aide, Oyebode Atoyebi.
Justice Okechukwu Okeke, who said he would not strike out the charges, granted an accelerated hearing of the matter.
Ikuforiji’s counsel, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), had asked the court to strike out the charges due to the absence of the prosecution counsel, Mr. Godwin Obla, in court.
Oyetibo had urged the court to strike out the matter, accusing the prosecution of treating the matter with “much levity” since his client’s arraignment on March 1, 2012.
According to Oyetibo, the prosecution has been “exhibiting visible reluctance to prosecute the case”.
But Okeke, while ruling that he would adjourn the matter for sake of overriding public interest, ordered accelerated hearing and subsequently fixed April 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 for continuation of trial.
The anti-graft agency had earlier asked Okeke to hands-off presiding over the matter because it had written to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to re-assign it to another judge.